6 Thoughts for better love
Loving with the heart
Author: Andres D' Angelo | Source: Catholic-link.com
Does love cure it all?
Romanticism kills love. Romantic films present our love as a kind of magic key that opens the doors of all human hearts and solves all problems. At the beginning of almost all the love stories it may seem that such a thing is true because we are in a state known as “being in love”.
But what is being in love? An American poet defined it as a “neurochemical scam”. While being in love, we live in an “ideal” apparent state: the woman feels constantly praised by the courtesies of her lover. He feels the luckiest man in the world because the most beautiful woman in the universe has paid attention to him, and everything seems to be a fairy tale. But, in all fairy tales, there is a witch and an ogre, who is sleeping while the fairy tale is being written, but who will inevitably wake up once they are married.
While being in love, we are in a state of exception. It is said that the human brain functions throughout life until we fall in love. And that is quite right. The brain in love is like the brain of an addict to cocaine, according to a study conducted by Helen Fischer. The reward system of a person in love works similarly to the brain of an addict: the more he gets, the more he wants. This "brain anomaly" is what causes an almost always violent reaction when someone warns us about the defaults of our possible future spouse. How can he be imperfect, if he is such a gentleman? How will she be imperfect if she is the most beautiful woman in the world? We refuse to see reality because fantasy is much more attractive. But this state does not last forever, and when it passes, "the scales fall from our eyes" and we find the "neurochemistry scam", seems that we have fallen into a death trap to "hunt us" rather than "marry us".
How can we avoid these "surprises" that take place when the love charm is over?
By preparing ourselves not to “give” those surprises, and praying for our future spouse for him/her to prepare. Let me explain myself: we all want unconditional love, that supports us both the good and the bad times, that is always in a good mood and that supports us in health and disease, in prosperity and adversity, until death do us apart. When we think about our future, we are sure that is what we deserve. But there is a problem: to receive that love, we have to be willing to give unconditional love, that stands both in the good and the bad times, that is always in a good mood and that support the other in health and disease, in prosperity and adversity until death separates us. We want a future ideal spouse, but we are not willing to be that ideal spouse.
It is clear then that before thinking about what we will receive in our relationship, we should focus on what we are going to give. «Love is to give without expecting to receive,» says the popular saying, probably based on what Jesus said and Luke refers to in Acts 20, 35: "There is more joy in giving than in receiving "
And how do we prepare ourselves to have a good relationship? How can we be that ideal spouse? There are many recipes! But today I want to focus on some aspects that generate most of the conflicts after getting married. These aspects in the life of the relationship may seem irrelevant, but they require much self-control and much prayer, so, if you can relate to some of them, the time to begin to work on them is now!
1. Stop complaining!
Why do you even complain? Do you get anything by complaining? The only thing you get is that everyone will become defensive towards you and that you will always have to look for someone to blame for all your misfortunes, both the real as the imaginary. In relationships, the constant complaining completely hinders the relationship, especially, when they are already married. Mainly critics expressed as disqualifying, in second person or that include adverbs such as "always" and "never". The complaining people have the main characteristic: they do not take charge of their difficulties and tend to attribute them to others. These kinds of people not only are not happy, but they also make unhappy everyone who approaches them.
2. Do not be resentful!
Attached to the previous point, resentful people do not let go of any offense. The resentful person takes his everyday poison and waits for others to die. Being resentful is keeping the offense away from forgiveness and value more self-pride than the relationship and the other person. Many times we are offended, especially the most cherished and loved ones, and the closer the more it hurts and often they do not ask for forgiveness, even when they know that they have acted against us. What can we do? Remain offended for life? If you are not able to forgive, not one, but seventy times seven, it is very likely that you are not yet mature to love for a lifetime. A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
3. Do not save the best for yourself!
Selfishness is a feature that should be revised since long before you think of approaching the sacrament of marriage. The sacrament can give us grace, but it is not like magic. A person who thinks of itself before the other is often extremely unhappy in marriage. It may seem contradictory. Let us suppose that “Paul”, someone who thinks first of himself is married to “Martha”, someone who thinks first about Paul that in herself: two persons are thinking of Paul! The perfect happiness for Paul! And yet it is not so. It may be that fantasy of happiness will last a few months, but selfishness will convert the relationship which should be between equals into a "master - server" relationship, and time will bring suffering to that relationship. As I said in the beginning: the more we think of our happiness, the easier is the road to failure.
4. Stop justifying yourself and start listening!
Your point of view may seem extremely interesting to you because you know all the intricacies of your mind, and certainly, you have a reasonable explanation for all the nonsense you do. But when you get married, the nonsense that you do no stop affecting you only, they also affect your spouse. And maybe in your head, the explanation of (for example) why you spent half the budget of the family to buy something unnecessary may seem something completely justifiable. But there is one detail: your money is not your money, it is both. And your spouse may have a different list of priorities, perhaps much more reasonable than yours. So, before doing anything, start by consulting, listening and learning to talk! God gave us two ears and one mouth, so you listen to the double of what you speak, and you're right on track.
5. Leave pornography!
And when I say pornography, I talk about all the garbage that your "funny" friends send us "just for teasing". A funny joke can cost us marriage happiness. Pornography denigrates human love. Pornography is a “victimless crime”? Pornographic actors and actresses have a high mortality rate due to sexually transmitted diseases but also to the high exposure to hard drugs. In addition, by exposing yourself to that "little joke", eventually you will get used to it and pretend that what you see in pornography is "normal sexuality" and the day you get married, you will have such a distorted view of sexuality, that marital sexuality which is supposed to be the ultimate expression of love for you and your spouse, will be boring and anodyne for you.
Of course, all these things are not easy! I have a secret for you: marriage isn't easy. It may seem contradictory that I, who wrote a book called: "Easy marriage for difficult times" say this, but not is me the only who says it, Saint Francis of Sales said that: «marriage offers the maximum opportunities of mortification». Or, as Chesterton said: "marriage is an adventure, like going to war". Of course, we do not want to go to war, because the most powerful enemy to overcome is not our spouse, but ourselves. And when we overcome ourselves, and we donate entirely to the other in the relationship (because to donate yourself you have to own oneself, and to own oneself we must overcome ourselves) then the marriage can become easy, no matter how difficult things may be.
Perhaps you will say: but I cannot do all that alone! And, of course not! Saint Paul says it: «All I can do in the one who comforts me». (Phil 4.13) As Saint Augustine used to say, we have to «do what we can and ask what we cannot», or, as Saint Ignatius said, “act as if everything depended on you, trust as if everything depended upon God.”
If you still do not have your ideal partner, it may not be time to look for it. To be the "ideal spouse", and probably to find your "ideal partner", the best thing is to review these five points and evaluate yourself. If you do not yet qualify, before getting a candidate, get yourself a spiritual director! If you already have a couple and you are preparing to get married, check out this list too, you may still have to make some last adjustments so you can have a good marriage. If you are already married and have any of these problems, it is a good time to stop and work so that the grace of the sacrament can act!